Category Archives: Dynamics 365

Game Changing Concept for Cloud ERP with Dynamics 365 Business Central

Overview

One of my personal complaints about any cloud based ERP software the inability to make customizations that your business needs to maintain a competitive edge.

The assumption of a cloud ERP software is that every business should be able to fully utilize the software as the software developers intended. But as we all know in the real world, this is NEVER the case.

The Cloud ERP Problem

As much as software developers tries to develop functions that covers all basis for the users of their software, there will be nuance for each individual businesses and how they operate. This is exponentiated by the fact that their customers will throw out weird curveballs that the user will have to comply, no matter what.

What do you do in these instances? You have make changes to the system or keep track of the changes manually.

In this day and age where products are expected to be ordered in the morning and shipped in the afternoon, there’s no way in hell you can expect the user to keep track of data manually. Worst, the company may have to buy or develop a whole different software just to supplement what the original ERP can’t handle.

Either way, it’s a recipe for disaster.

So now you have a problem, you have a software that is not robust enough to meet your customer’s demands without major workarounds and you have data and processes you have to comply with.

Yeah… It’s not a very good situation…

What Makes Dynamics 365 Business Central Different

One of the main selling points for the old Dynamics NAV (aka Navision) was the ability the user can customize anything they want. Because of this, some very beautiful industry specific and horizontal solutions have been developed without additional integration software. Why? Because it’s built INTO the software.

The ability to modify anything you want is both good and bad and is subject to debate, but at least it’s available should you need it.

When Microsoft announced they’re moving Dynamics NAV to the full cloud and renaming it to Dynamics 365 Business Central, a lot of people kind of assumed we’d be taking away the core essences of what makes NAV great, it’s flexibility.

Then when the product launched, I see this little surprise in the Extension Management screen. The Extension Management screen basically allows you to add/remove any features you want that’s available:

What?! I almost wet my pants when I saw this!

This allows you and/or your NAV partner to make custom extension modifications to your specific Dynamics 365 Business Central deployment!

Not only can you enjoy the great infrastructure of Microsoft cloud, but you’re also able to make customizations to your specific needs?! Microsoft, specifically the Dynamics NAV product team, really hit this thing out of the park.

Still Work to Do

Being able to upload extensions to modify your deployment still has it’s limits.

You will only be able to “extend” on the base application, but you will not be able to actually modify the base code. For example, you will not be able to change how Reservation system works in base NAV, you can only modify around it.

But still, it’s a GREAT first step!

Conclusion

Welp… I’m excited. Cautious, but excited.  Naaa.. I’m just excited…

How to Unlock More Features on Dynamics 365 Business Edition

Overview

When you first sign up for Microsoft Dynamics 365 For Business, you will get a very simple application that will most likely satisfy only the most basic accounting needs.

Using only the basic accounting functions is NOT the reason why you signed up for Dynamics 365 for Business. You signed up for D365 because you want an ERP software for the cost of an accounting software!

Unlock the POWER!

To unlock the full feature of Dynamics 365 for Business, you will need to do the following:

  1. Go to Company Information (you can use the search function)
  2. Expand the User Experience Fasttab
  3. Change the Experience to Advanced

Now when you open the sales order, you’ll be able to have the ability to print simple pick tickets to enabling full manufacturing and warehousing features of Dynamics NAV!

Change User Experience

Before and After

You can see the difference in the sales order heading when you leave the Experience as Basic verses Advanced.

Sales Order Page on Basic Setting on D365

Here’s with the Advanced Setting

Sales Order Page with Advanced Setting in D365

Conclusion

There are a lot more features that are unlocked when you change the Experience. For most businesses that signed up for D365 in the first place, I can’t imaging them sticking with the Basic user experience.

Nonetheless, contact your solution provider to find out more features between the difference experiences.

Enjoy the ride!

Chinese Language Pack for Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central

Overview

Recently, we started a branch in Taiwan. One of the reasons, amongst other reasons, I started this branch is because it’s country where I was born. So in a way, I feel a little obligated to help the companies in my home country to be more efficient and enjoy the benefits in what Dynamics NAV has to offer.

There are many lessons learned in terms of starting a company in a different country; the local culture and views on technology, how to speak and appeal to the local management, etc. I’m sure I’ll blog about in a future article. For now, I want to share with you guys the many challenges when doing translation in Dynamics NAV (Navision).

One of the Technical Challenges

When selling into a local market, one of the things that is mandatory is whether you have the local language pack. As you know, Dynamics NAV is a software that’s utilized all over the world. Microsoft also supports languages for many countries out of the box.

Unfortunately, the Chinese language pack is not one of them. This means we had to create our own.

The Process

The process involves creating caption for all the fields, errors, messages, reports, etc.

There are 3 main parts for creating translations that works in Dynamics NAV.
1. Translate the platform by translating the resource file for each DLL file.
2. Translate all the captions by adding a new language into captionML in each object
3. Localize development environment by translating .stx and .etx files. These 2 files have to be sent to the Microsoft regional office and sealed by Microsoft. (Only required if you want the Development Environment to be in Chinese as well)

Fortunately, Microsoft provides tools that allow you to make your own localization. In our case, we did this for the Chinese language. The step by step instruction on how to do this is explained here. Basically download the PLLP (Partner Localization and Translation Licensing Program) and follow the instructions very carefully:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/nav/archive/2013/11/15/microsoft-dynamics-nav-2013-r2-pllp-toolkit-released.aspx

You will spend most efforts on translate all the captions. However, this part can be accelerated a little bit by exporting all the captions in txt file. Once you translate all the exported captions with A1033 code (English label) to the corresponding language code (e.g. A1028 represents Chinese Traditional), import the txt file back to NAV. Then it’s done!

Introducing the Chinese Language Pack for Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central

As you will see, we did this for Traditional Chinese, but the nice thing about this is that it can be easily translated to Simplified Chinese.

Here are the results:

Chinese Dynamics NAV Selection

Chinese Dynamics NAV Selection

Chinese Dynamics NAV Role Center

Chinese Dynamics NAV Role Center

Chinese Dynamics NAV Departments

Chinese Dynamics NAV Departments

Chinese Dynamics NAV Customer Card

Chinese Dynamics NAV Customer Card

Here it is for Simplified Chinese: